Manhood is a struggle

Benjamin Disraeli

Such are the words of Benjamin Disraeli.  His actual and full quote is as follows:

“Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle, Old age a regret.”

For those who are unfamiliar, Benjamin Disraeli was one of the Prime Ministers of Great Britain.  Actually, he served as PM twice in his long career in British Parliament and politics.  He was a key figure in creating what became the modern Conservative Party.  There is much debate on his overall role in the pantheon of conservative thought.  But, he was quite the literary figure as well.

The quote above is from a political novel, Coningsby.  This novel set in the 1830s the life and career of Henry Coningsby, an orphan grandson of a wealthy marquess, Lord Monmouth. Lord Monmouth initially disapproved of Coningsby’s parents’ marriage, but on their death he relents, decides to provide for the boy and sends young Coningsby to be educated at Eton College. At Eton Coningsby meets and befriends Oswald Millbank, the son of a rich cotton manufacturer who is a bitter enemy of Lord Monmouth. The two older men represent old and new wealth in society.

As Coningsby grows up he begins to develop his own liberal political views and he falls in love with Oswald’s sister Edith. When Lord Monmouth discovers these developments he is furious and secretly disinherits his grandson. On his death, Coningsby is left penniless, and is forced to work for his living. He decides to study law and to become a barrister. This proof of his character impresses Edith’s father (who had previously also been hostile) and he consents to their marriage at last. By the end of the novel Coningsby is elected to Parliament for his new father-in-law’s constituency and his fortune is restored.

If you decide to dive into this book, you will find the quote above.  Don’t bother.

Here is my point for Manday today.

I acknowledge that my youth has been full of blunders.  There have been too many to recount here.  And I will admit that manhood has at times proven to be a struggle.  But, I refuse to reach old age and have regrets.  I refuse to live life without giving it my all in my struggle to be the man that God called me to be, the husband that my wife needs me to be, the father that my children need me to be and the “Papa” that my grandchildren need me to be.

What about you today?  Are you struggling a little?  Then join the crowd.  But join with us and fight the good fight and let’s overcome together!


Photo credit: Political Graveyard / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: Gwynhafyr / Foter / CC BY-NC

Without a vision . . . Without a leader . . .


I have heard many provide insight into the popular passage from Proverbs 29:18.  In fact, I wrote about this very same passage back on January 1st of this year.  In case you are not familiar with it, it goes like this:

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

It is often used as an exhortation to go out and do something big.  Something that requires great vision.  And without something big to strive for, folks will surely die.  Now, I could discuss what that verse may really be saying, but for purposes of this leadership blog I will stick with one of the more common applications of the verse.

The application of that verse that is most common would call us to greatness and to do things that we cannot see with our own eyes.  But consider for a moment the execution of that verse.  Vision is great and I am all for it.  But vision without leadership is nearly pointless.  If people perish without a vision, I think that without a leader they will wander aimlessly in search of direction.

You and I are leaders.  We are called to lead.  Let’s align ourselves with a vision.  Or let’s collectively seek the vision of those among us with those skills.  And then let’s pursue that vision with energy, enthusiasm and with discipline.  Let’s see the vision and then say follow me!  I know how to get us there!

“Where there is no vision the people perish”
Proverbs 29:18

“Where there is no leadership the people wander aimlessly.”
K.E. Bowser


Looking Silly or Feeling Confident

Looking Silly, Feeling Confident - 1Leadership and confidence usually go hand in hand. But sometimes you feel awkward or even silly. You may feel silly and awkward inside, but you can learn to overcome those feelings. You can develop the ability to both look and feel confident even though you feel silly.

Looking Silly, Feeling Confident - 3Researchers tell us that the number one fear of most people is the fear of public speaking or some other public exposure. Now, in full disclosure, I will admit that I have never suffered from that fear. I was a “theater guy”. I loved being on stage. Many years ago my wife and I owned our own business where I was a paid professional public speaker. I have made a living standing and talking in front of a crowd. It doesn’t scare me – it energizes me. But I realize that I am the oddball in this regard. (Maybe some other regards as well . . .)

Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you get over the fear of looking silly and also help you gain and portray confidence to those around you. Continue reading “Looking Silly or Feeling Confident”

Do it, ditch it, or delegate it

Do it, ditch it or delegate it - 1Here is one of those great little maxims that I heard many years ago and I solemnly avowed and affirmed that I would live by it until my dying days.

But, as I look back on it and examine how well I adhered to that little maxim . . .  It seems like not so much.

The principle expressed in this pithy little statement is this.

When presented with a choice, a document, a task or a decision – handle it immediately in one of the following manners.

  1. Do it! — That sounds simple enough.  But procrastination is something that comes naturally to the human species.  This is especially true for those choices or tasks that have particularly unpleasant undertones.
  2. Ditch it! — This also sounds simple.  But many of us suffer from bouts of indecision.  We often times cannot make up our minds that this just isn’t important to the overall goals and therefore should be jettisoned for the more important tasks.
  3. Delegate it! — Another simple sounding thing.  For those of us who have a staff that we can actually delegate something to, we often choose to handle the task ourselves.

Do it, ditch it or delegate it - 3So, what are the leadership implications of this little phrase? Continue reading “Do it, ditch it, or delegate it”

Crucible of Crisis

Crucible of Crisis - 1Who likes a crisis?  Who thrives in a crisis environment? Who loves conflict and turmoil?

I know some have suggested that you should never waste a good crisis.  But that is the subject of another topic and another time.  That line of thinking may even be worthy of a “Rant” from fellow blogger, Rene Rivera.  But I would like to consider what can come from crisis and how it may impact your leadership.

It seems to me that perhaps we avoid crises to our own personal and leadership development detriment. I would submit to you that sometimes great leaders emerge and are developed in the crucible of crisis.

Does that mean that as leaders we should always seek out crisis situations? Continue reading “Crucible of Crisis”